Hall of Famers join Cards' opener fun
Weather, atmosphere 'perfect' for pregame ceremony
ST. LOUIS -- Seven Hall of Famers highlighted the opening ceremonies at Busch Stadium on an absolutely perfect Monday afternoon.
Spectacular early spring weather lent a shine to what would be a big day regardless. Heading the traditional motorcade around the warning track at Busch Stadium were the Hall of Famers: Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, new enshrinee Whitey Herzog, Bruce Sutter, Ozzie Smith, Red Schoendienst and the greatest Cardinal of all, Stan Musial.
"Everything's all set, isn't it?" manager Tony La Russa said before the pregame events. "Perfect weather and all the festivities, all you've got to do is play the game. We don't want to disappoint our fans. That's the goal."
The ceremony centered on the pennant-winning 1985 Cardinals, who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Along with the motorcade of historic greats and current players, the show included a lap by the Budweiser Clydesdales, a first pitch from Herzog and a national anthem performance by Neal E. Boyd.
The club also recognized Fred Kuhlmann and Nick Kladis. Kuhlmann, a former Cardinals team president, and Kladis, an investor in the club, both passed away over the offseason.
Cards' LaRue out until at least Wednesday
ST. LOUIS -- Jason LaRue will be unavailable until at least Wednesday and quite possibly longer as he attempts to recover from a right hamstring injury. The Cardinals' backup catcher suffered the injury in Sunday night's game against the Brewers.
"It will be day to day," LaRue said. "It's a matter of, it's got to get better. If it doesn't get better, then, worst-case scenario, I would go on the DL. But right now I think we're optimistic that that won't have to happen. It's obviously sore, but it's definitely better than yesterday."
LaRue had replaced regular catcher Yadier Molina when he got hurt on Sunday. As a result, the club's emergency third catcher, Nick Stavinoha, took his place. For the time being, Stavinoha becomes the backup to Molina.
"We won't have a real good read on it, probably until Wednesday," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's got some tenderness there. [We will use] Stavinoha if we have to."
LaRue said that he biggest test for him will be running. He moved around the clubhouse reasonably well on Monday afternoon, and he said that hitting is not a problem. He doesn't feel much pain crouching, but bursting up to make a throw could also be an issue.
"It's not something that's going to bother me to hit or do anything like that," he said. "The only thing is, I've got to be able to at least run. If I can't run, that's not good. So it's going to be a matter of being able to run, is what it's going to boil down to."
La Russa not concerned about Carpenter
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter has allowed five home runs in 11 innings on the season, but Cardinals manager Tony La Russa expressed no concern over his ace.
"He just wasn't as sharp," La Russa said of Carpenter's seven-run, three-homer, five-inning showing against the Brewers on Sunday night. "Even against Cincinnati, he was good, but he's capable of being sharper. But as long as he's healthy and competing, everything will fall into place."
Carpenter, who turns 35 later this month, allowed seven home runs in 192 2/3 innings last season and has not given up more than 24 in a season since 2001.
Only twice last year did Carpenter even allow a single home run in consecutive starts. The last time he was reached for three in a game was Aug. 9, 2006, and the last time he had successive starts with two or more homers allowed was July 1 and 6, 2001.
ST. LOUIS -- Blake Hawksworth was the only Cardinals reliever considered unavailable to pitch on Monday, after he went two innings on Sunday. ... Adam Wainwright became the first Cardinal to start successive home openers since Mark Mulder in 2005-06. ... Entering Monday, Albert Pujols was 12-for-29 (.414) with two home runs and 10 RBIs in Cardinals home openers. ... St. Louis will not hold a workout on Tuesday. The Cardinals worked out last Tuesday after their opener in Cincinnati, but manager Tony La Russa will give the club the day off following a week-long road trip and the Monday home opener.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.